Hundreds of Brookdale scholarship recipients, donors and local officials came together in support of educational opportunity on March 22 during the 2018 Scholarship Recognition Ceremony, held in the Collins Arena.
The ceremony, hosted by the Brookdale Foundation, recognized many of the more than 500 students who have received a total of more than $430,000 in Brookdale scholarships this academic year. College and Monmouth County officials also recognized the dozens of individual and organizational donors who support those scholarships each semester.
“Thanks to the generosity and efforts of our dedicated volunteers and donors, we have provided over $5 million in scholarships and grants to more than 7,000 students over the last seventeen years,” said Timothy Zeiss, executive director of the Brookdale Foundation and Alumni Affairs.
The ceremony began with addresses by Monmouth County Freeholder Director and Brookdale almunus Thomas Arnone, who was joined at the event by Freeholder Gerard Scharfenberger, and interim Brookdale President David Stout, who encouraged the scholarship recipients to make the most of their award.
“Congratulations to all of our students here tonight,” said Stout. “I encourage you to continue to work hard and to seize all the opportunities that Brookdale provides so that you can succeed in your pursuit of knowledge. Please know that Brookdale values the academic and personal success of our students, and your achievement is the hallmark of our mission.”
The students were then called to the stage one by one, where they were presented with an official certificate of recognition before posing for a photo with Stout.
“It feels great to receive this scholarship. It really does,” said second-year nursing major Steven Horakh, who received a $500 award sponsored by the Joan Litwin Memorial Scholarship Fund.
“I work really hard, day in and day out. I go to school, I go to work, I go back to my room and study. For somebody to recognize all the work I’ve put in, and to select me for this award, it’s a big deal. I’m so grateful to the family.”
The ceremony also served as an informal meet-and-great for scholarship recipients and donors, who spent time talking and posing for photos following the event.
Middletown residents Janice and Ken Tietjen said they enjoyed spending time with Brookdale student Chris Hadinger, who was selected to receive this year’s Police Officer Ken Tietjen Endowment Foundation Scholarship. The scholarship was established in 2001 in honor of the Tietjen’s son Ken, a 31-year-old Port Authority police officer who died during the response to the September 11 terror attacks in New York City.
The scholarship, which recognizes students who show a commitment to community service, is a fitting tribute to their son, said Janice Tietjen.
“He was born on the Fourth of July. He was an incredible, funny, friendly young man,” she said. “We are very proud of him, and it makes us feel good knowing that we are giving a scholarship to someone who is working to make their community better, just as he did.”
The Brookdale Foundation offers scholarships to a wide range of students each year, including working class students who don’t qualify for traditional financial aid.
For more information about available scholarships at Brookdale, click here.
Check out more photos of the Scholarship Recognition Ceremony here.